Russia: Volunteers more likely to be admitted to medical school

Russian Ministry of Health: volunteers more likely to be admitted to medical school
NGOs in the field will soon legalise their cooperation with hospitals.
Hospitals and NGOs will conclude official cooperation agreements. A draft federal law on volunteering in medical institutions, prepared by the Ministry of Health, has already passed its first reading in the State Duma, Oleg Salagai, Director of the Department of Public Health and Communications, told the National Forum of Medical Volunteers in Moscow.
“The lack of an act regulating the activities of volunteers gives them space. But on the other hand, the medical trade has little trust in them and many health organisations try not to link with them simply due to their lack of legal status”, believes Salagai. “We try to empower specific socially orientated NGOs and medical organisations to enable them to identify the most suitable format for volunteering. The public and volunteers are still able to submit comments and corrections to the draft to improve it and provide insights the Ministry cannot. Jointly, we will develop a draft which will help volunteers to help”.
He specifies that volunteers can take full responsibility for certain tasks that go beyond the powers of doctors, such as promoting a healthy lifestyle and preventing illness. The formal agreements will include everything: from the scheduling of hospital visits to the necessity for volunteers to undergo a medical examination.
Healthy competition
At the opening of the Forum of Medical Volunteers, Public Chamber member Elena Topoleva noted that society has grown more trusting of the non-profit sector. According to recent sociological research, the level of trust amongst Russians in the work of NGOs has grown to 66%. In addition, NGOs are gaining both financial support and the opportunity to compete with other players in the social services market, including in healthcare provision.
“As the Public Chamber, we will ensure that barriers are overcome and NGOs can become full participants in the social services market”, emphasised Topoleva.
Personnel training
The Ministry of Health has prepared a further draft law. If it is accepted, medical volunteers will be granted priority access to higher and specialised secondary education institutions. This was announced at the Forum by the Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova. She also noted plans to continue to attract volunteers to the country’s most significant events in the field of healthcare.
“We consider voluntary activities to be an element of upbringing and socialisation”, added Igor Mikheev, Director of the Department of State Policy for Child and Youth Education in the Ministry of Education and Science. “Self-realisation through joint activities and a sense of responsibility – these trends are developing in university and are already spreading to schools”.

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